Sunday, 27 May 2012

Strawberry blossom and columbine

Haven't blogged much lately due to work, but of cause the heat has also been a reason I've not been much online. It's already Sunday evening (if you call anything after 18.00 evening: it's still as sunny and bright outdoors as if it was noon) and I feel like I haven't done half the things I wanted to do this weekend. The only thing I've really done was to finally try and prepare a decoupaged fabric scrap to bead/embroider on. Of cause I'm using one of those (decoupage) glues that have to dry for 24 hours and then be heat set so I haven't been able to begin the actual embroidery yet. Some techniques just have to involve a lot of sitting around and waiting -- and I want some instant satisfaction projects right now to get my creativity flowing.

Anyway, beacause of that I'm taking five minutes just to write a little something here and show two pics from the latest photo sessions. Many flower photos as usual, but I'm ending up just editing and showing two this time: strawberry blossom and columbines. (We have so much columbine -- it spreads so fast! -- but, alas, only two varieties: this double pink one and a dark blue variety.)

 I also made an altered image of the columbine photo, adding a somewhat different mood to it and almost a kind of dusky light.

Funny -- it just now struck me that the title could be poetic. It's almost like the song from Lud-in-the-Mist. "Strawberry wire and columbine." *googles the full lyrics for the refrain* Ah, yes:

     With lily, germander, and sops in wine, 
      With sweet-brier, 
       And bon-fire, 
        And strawberry-wire, 
         And columbine.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Just a few pics

As I mentioned in the comments for the previous blog post, potato harvest has begun and so I'm a bit busier than usual now. Didn't get around to edit any more of the cherry blossom pics. Yet. But instead I just wanted to show a few of the pics I took today. It's been a beautiful summer's day here. Temperatures over 25 degrees (with a little wind so bearable) in the afternoon and really sunny too. Luckily not that warm in the morning when we worked in the potato fields!

Because of the weather and because of all the flowers blooming now, I had to get out the camera and go for a stroll in the garden and up the hill, from which I take so many of my landscape photos.

Hope you like them.

First apple tree to bloom.

Ferns and, in the background, a cherry tree.

The horse chestnut has also begun to blossom.

...and every meadow, lawn and grass field is covered with lovely, bright dandelions!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Waiting for the cherry blossom

cherry blossom

I finally got to take some flower photos yesterday and hope to be able to share them with you soon. Not today (been working, tired) and not tomorrow (won't be home), but soon. In the meantime, here's a little collage I made with the older, fuzzy pics I mentioned earlier.

This isn't my best artistic editing, but I enjoyed layering photos and textures. It's actually two different cherry blossom photos on top of each other, the second one being added as a texture, and then there's two or three different textures added on top of that. It's really fun playing with photos this way. The result may not always be so great, but it sure is fun -- and a great way of using photos that came out less than perfect as it doesn't have to be a bad thing if the pic is blurred, has a boring composition etc. It can be almost like doodling, but with photos. Many times I do it just for that reason, with no thought of ever showing the result to anyone, just having it as a personal creative outlet. I might not even save the finished image, even if it isn't hideous.

If you've never done it before, you should consider giving it a try sometime. Doesn't matter if you're a photo editing newbie, anyone can create fun pics regardless of skill level with a user-friendly tool like PicMonkey (used here) or Pixlr Express. Just start with something easy and work from there. Sometimes you fail, but without failures you don't get the successes so it's just scrap the bad pic and begin with a new one instead.

Monday, 14 May 2012

TAST week 19: Half chevron

English name: Half chevron
Swedish name: ? (variation av flätsöm med sidostygn)

This was a new stitch for me, though I have of cause tried my hand at both chevron and cretan stitches earlier during the TAST challenge,  so I kept it simple, tried to get familiar with the stitch. I like the effect you get when stitching multiple rows together and how much it changes depending on how you rotate the stitches/rows.

Along the right side you can also find two threaded variations of the stitch.

Having found that the Aurica yarn worked very well for both chevron and cretan before, it was likely the yarn would work for half chevron too. But it was a little tricky to get it at least a little even as the stitch has two different sides to it. If I hadn't been so tired when stitching it might've been easier to get the stitches nice and even, though.

What is TAST?

Take a Stitch Tuesday is a weekly embroidery challenge throughout the year by Sharon of Pin Tangle. You can read more about it here (or by clicking the TAST badge to the right).

To see what others have done in this stitch, check out the comments in this post on Pin Tangle. Be sure not to miss Sharon's lovely stitch variations in the actual post.

TAST week 18: Crossed buttonhole

English name: Crossed buttonhole
Swedish name: Korslagda langettstygn

Hope you aren't expecting any exciting stitches. These two last weeks I've mostly stitched as a kind of meditation. Sure, I wanted to test different variations too, but one thing I like about some stitches are how they work up so fast and almost stitch themselves. So I just let myself go with the flow. Which is nice for the embroiderer, but doesn't result in any exciting or revolutionary stitching for the onlookers.

Here, I mostly tried different sizes/shapes and positioning rows of stitches in different ways, but I did try to make double crossed buttonhole stitches -- one of those ideas I thought was my own, but then realised many had done before me -- and there's also a few tacked down stitches and a little whipping.

I only did one stitch with the Aurica yarn. I liked the effect you get when measuring the stitches so the "filled" sections of yarn creates a border and the "open" sections are left for the crosses. Was just a little too tired to measure when doing this so I gave up after messing up the subsequent stitches and had to rip them up, leaving just one stitch.

Crossed buttonhole is a very decorative but still simple stitch. If I ever need to do some blanket stitches, this will be a variation to consider for that extra touch.

What is TAST?

Take a Stitch Tuesday is a weekly embroidery challenge throughout the year by Sharon of Pin Tangle. You can read more about it here (or by clicking the TAST badge to the right).

To see what others have done in this stitch, check out the comments in this post on Pin Tangle. Be sure not to miss Sharon's lovely stitch variations in the actual post.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

May flowers

It's May, a month when the cherry trees and tulips and annual honesty (judaspenning) begins to bloom. A good month for taking photos in other words, but, alas, first it was really windy (darn tricky to get crisp photos when the flowers bobs up and down and the branches swing from side to side) and then it got rainy. Today it's both rainy and windy.

So I only hade a few photos -- and not even those have I edited to show you on the blog. So far you'll have to make due with the cherry (I think -- many of the fruit tree flowers look so similar) flower above. It's one of the photos where the motif got all blurry due to the wind. But sometimes I save pics like that as they can be used in digital art and other kinds of digital photo editing.

Hope you all have a less rainy and windy weekend!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Old gifts

I haven't been a very active blogger recently and it's not just because the weather called for outdoor work (according to the SMHI season map last weekend, we've had meteorological summer for a week now) but also other things that've gotten in the way. You should check out that map, it's kind of fun to see how the seasons in Sweden right now range from summer in the south to winter in the mountains in the north. But, anyway, I've got flower pics from these sunny summer days, but they aren't edited. Today I'm instead treating you to some different flowers, printed on fabric.

These are two fabric-clad boxes I got from an friend of my parents'. She was old by then and didn't do much embroidery so she gave me and my sis a few boxes of various sizes containing embroidery threads and a few tools. I have no idea how old they are, all I know is that I got them in the 90's and she was born in the 1910's so she'd had a long life to accumulate things in.

This little box above has a pretty fun floral design. The inside is lined with yellow satin and it has a stamp. Forgot to take a picture of that. I don't know if it was intended for embroidery floss to begin with or if it was repurposed for the sewing basket later. Haven't measured it, but it's about a 1 dm long.

The second box was big and flat like a (large) book. The old and stained wooden box is hinged and opens up to reveal compartments filled with embroidery threads on small bobbins. There was also a (silver?) thimble and the needlebook you can see below. The woman's name is written with a lead pencil on the inside of the needlebook.

I haven't used any of the threads. I don't even know exactly what most of them are (the blue skein on top of the bobbins are real silk, I know that much). It was a kind of treasure, getting all these colours and pretty boxes, so it's one of those things I save for something special. Or just save.

Too pretty -- and too special -- to use.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Bead blog recap weeks 17-18

It's been two weeks again. I'm not even going to comment on the speed of time this week. Just say that while I've been out with the camera today there won't be any photos posted on the blog until tomorrow hopefully. Today, though, it's time for another summary of my writings at Manekis Pärlblogg, the other blog I have. Several tips on challenges and contests, but also seed bead size charts, jewellery projects and bead tutorials.

Friday, 4 May 2012

May bead soup palette

I made this palette isnpired by the special innovations recently released by Swarovski. It included a broader range of products in crystal astral pink (a finish originally released a few seasons ago) and neon pearls. I've also decided I want to play with strong, sweet and juicy colours this season. I love my earthtones, but I can love this kind of colours too.

For those of you who haven't seen it, crystal astral pink can be described as an topaz orange with metallic dark pink and purple tones and a few hints of yellow. The mandarine rose AB is a dyed/coated 2-tone bead in mandarine orange and rose over a clear bead and with an aurora borealis finish that shimmers in blue/violet and yellow. If you compare the two, crystal astral pink is by far the most colour intense bead. Mandarine rose AB is juicy and fun too, but pales next to the crystals.

I've also thought of adding a few topaz yellow beads or some purple. Avoided the later for two reasons: 1) I always use purple and 2) amongst all my purple beads I couldn't really find one that matched the purple in the crystals (or the rivoli, see below). If I find my light amethyst crystals I might try and add them. And if I had some of the new neon pink and neon orange swarovski pearls, I'd like to add them to my crystal astral pink too.

Above is a "bonus palette" using the original mix with an added topaz glacier blue rivoli. Wasn't sure about it as it looks good in some lights and not as good in others (= wasn't sure the colours would look nice together in a photo) and I only had this one rivoliso it doesn't really blend to make a mix. Therefore I made one version with it and one without it.

And, to end it: a close-up of the crystal astral pink bicones on their own.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

TAST week 17: wheatear stitch

English name: Wheatear stitch
Swedish name: veteaxsöm?

Last week the challenge stitch was wheatear, a stitch I hadn't tried before. To be honest I wasn't that impressed with it -- ok, but nothing more -- not until I begun adding beads to it! I also tried whipping the stitches (with and without beads), which I thought looked good. So in the end it turned out to be a stitch I'd love to use in the future. With beads.

I first did a few detached stitches with two or three straight stitches (above, left) and then continued by making a few horisontal rows of stitches. For the dark green horisontal row I whipped the straight stitches. For the blue roes, I added a second row of stitches above the first one.

Then I began doing the vertical chains. First just trying out different lenghts of the loops and then, below it, I tried whipping the loops. The remaining green rows are beaded, though it can be hard to see as I did most of them with frosted dark green beads. So let's look closer a bit closer at those.

The beaded variations are the ones I'm most pleased with. I tried several different onces and here's a summary of them:
  1. With one bead on each straight stitch
  2. As above, but afterwards beads were back stitched into the loops, one bead per loop
  3. Detached stitch with one bead on each of the three straight stitches
  4. Whipped with one bead per whipping stitch
  5. Whipped with beads on the straight stitches
  6. Whipped with beads on both whipping and straight stitches
  7. One bead on each side of the loop
  8. Longer stitches with multiple beads in each loop
  9. Loop enters from and exit in one bead
  10. As no. 1, but with longer loops
  11. As no. 9 but with beads on the straight stitches too
  12. As no. 7, but with longer loops
The last two rows with sand coloured beads are made to show the difference between using tone-in-tone beads and beads in a contrasting colour. Variations used are no. 9, 12, 11 and -- in the last row -- 10.

Of cause I also tried the Aurica yarn, but this stitch is a bit too complex to use with only the aurica if you want even results. Detached stitches work better than rows. I tried making rows of stitches, but it was so bad I ripped it up.

So it wasn't a good stitch for my novelty yarn, but again I must say it was a very good stitch for beads. I makes for lovely beaded borders so I'm glad I tried this stitch!

What is TAST?

Take a Stitch Tuesday is a weekly embroidery challenge throughout the year by Sharon of Pin Tangle. You can read more about it here (or by clicking the TAST badge to the right).

To see what others have done in this stitch, check out the comments in this post on Pin Tangle. Be sure not to miss Sharon's lovely stitch variations in the actual post.
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